Friday, October 23, 2009


Remember this post about my Northern vs. Southern roots?  Well, it seems I may not be the Southerner I think I am!

The post got picked up by a syndicate feed and several websites linked to it, including The News Observer.  One reader was kind enough to point out to me that I spelled "y'all" incorrectly.  In my post, I spelled it y-a-apostrophe-l-l and the reader explained that it is not a contraction of "ya" and "all" but is a contraction of "you" and "all" and therefore should be spelled "y'all".

I obviously need to brush up on my terminology, you guys.  That was wicked embarrassing.

Stories of Sleep

This morning, Ethan asked where his grandpa (who is visiting this weekend) was sleeping.  I told him he was asleep in our guest room.  Ethan said, "Oh.  The guest room.  That's where people who don't belong here, but are your friends, but live in another state sleep.  That's why we call it a guest room".

* * * * * *
Each night before bed, I have Ethan tell Eli something nice about being brothers.  Last night I overheard Ethan telling Eli as he gave him a goodnight hug, "Eli, you're my best brother that I have.  And I'm sorry you had a blow out today.  And that you got water up your nose in the bath.   Twice."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

My life, I assure you, while quite lovely, is far from a from a fairy tale.  Our life is happy, but can also be harried.  And messy.  And chaotic.  And stressful.  So when story book settings (along with opportunities to slow down) make appearances in our day-to-day life, I soak them up as much as possible.  Today was was one of those sweet and special days.  Take a look at what we saw on our walk:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What You Won't See Here

If you are new to my blog, let me take a few minutes to tell you what you won't see here:

You won't see step by step instructions accompanied by photos of recipes that I have made for my family that day.  Really.  You won't.

You won't see me referring to my husband with a cute nickname or cryptic initials instead of his actual name.  My husband's name is Adam and that's how I refer to him both on my blog and in my real life.

You won't see give-a-ways of various gift cards, gift certificates or other gifty things.  It is a nice thought and probably really fun for readers and great for blog traffic and ratings, but quite honestly, I am horrific about going to the post office.  I couldn't mail a package (or even a letter) in a timely manner if my very own life depended on it.

You won't see contests where I ask you to name our pet fish or to guess how many Starbucks coffees I've had that day.  I assume you don't care about how many cups of decaf I've had (three) and I don't plan on buying anymore pet fish (we already have a half-dead Beta that lives in a dirty fishbowl in Ethan's bathroom that has proved to be too much for me to handle).  The fish is (aptly) named Fishy by the way (named by my son, not by a blog reader).

So, that you know what you won't see, let me tell you what I can guarantee:

My honest-to-goodness, genuine and very real experiences and emotions.  I will pour my heart out to you (and have already).  I will do my very best to tell it like it is, to show you who I really am (even if that means it's not exactly who I would like to be).  I'll paint the pretty (and not-so-pretty) pictures of my life.

Because at the end of the day, I'm all I've really got to show for myself, right?

I'm glad you're here and I hope you'll keep reading.

Total Picture Tuesday

In an effort to show you a real look at my real life, I bring you another Total Picture Tuesday!

A peek at a photo from our fun-filled family vacation....

....or, a peek at what awaits my real life now that we're home:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Blogalicious Weekend

When I told my mother that I was going to a blog conference that was for women of color, she looked at me with a look that seemed to say, "Uh, honey, I don't know how to break this to you, but you are in fact, NOT a woman of color."  I guess the fact that I am indeed white and was attending a conference for women of color does seem to merit some sort of explanation.

Except, now having returned from the conference I can tell you, it actually doesn't.  I have never felt more comfortable, more welcomed or more honored to share my weekend with women whom I'd just met.  Women who are just like me.  Women who love to write, who love to share, who love to be.  

While we are all at various levels in our blogging lives and despite the fact that we are all jockeying for position in the blogosphere, there was not one iota of competitive spirit or, of cattiness or of criticism.  I only felt that the women that we were with were there to  support and uplift, to learn and to teach, and to enable and encourage one another.  Never have I had the opportunity to associate myself with a group of women who were more genuine, more graceful and just downright fun to be around.  I walked away wishing that everyone could've shared in the beautiful dynamics that moved this conference forward.  I simply cannot wait until Blogalicious 2010 and am looking forward to cultivating the new relationships that began to bloom.

Total Picture Tuesday

Inspired by this recent post, I would like to share another sneak peek and offer some full disclosure on what my real life really looks like!

I could show you what my my tidy laundry room could look like:

Or, I could show you what my messy laundry room actually looks like:

Just making sure you have the total picture!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In the Driver's Seat

After an amazing, inspiring and dynamic weekend at the Blogalicious blog conference, it is nice to be home and back in the driver's seat (literally!) mothering my little men once again.

Bantering About My Yankee and (New) Southern Roots

Hop over to Deep South Moms to see what I have to say about being a Yankee living in the South in my recent post Southern Sayings I Will Never Say.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Total Picture

I love blogs. I love writing my own blog as much as I love reading other people's blogs. One thing that always gets me thinking is the different pictures of people's homes that they post on their blog. Most often, the photos show their home in its absolute best light, in its most perfect state. The photo in one particular blog I've started reading look like they came out of the latest Anthropologie catalog. Everything in the house is beautiful and colorful and sweet. The blogger's outfits are to die for - adorable dresses, sweet little shoes, perfect hair all the time. And while they make for a beautiful blog and fill me with light-hearted thoughts of a happy, artsy family living their happy, picturesque life, I can't help this the TOTAL picture? What I want to know is, what's on the other side of the lens, the side we can't see? And is the pretty perspective the reality? Is it even what people really want to see or simply just what we want to share? Is there something to be said for allowing people to see what we really live like? Are the invisible parts of the story board the more interesting parts? Personally, I love a pretty picture but I also love to see how people really are. The authentic is what draws me in. The pretty stuff is just that. Pretty. Stuff. But when you show people how you really are, then they really know. Who. You. Are. And isn't who you really are more interesting than what you look like?

What do I mean?

I could show you a picture of my sweet little front entrance, decorated for Halloween:

Or I could show you what my entryway REALLY looks like:

I could show you the pretty kitchen cabinets I have, all neatly organized:

Or I could show you my REAL cabinets, the ones without the glass that visitors don't usually see:

I could show you the pretty couch in my playroom:

Or I could show you what the playroom REALLY looks like:

I could offer you a sneak peek at the delicious beef stew I made for dinner, from scratch, that simmered all day:

Or I could show you what my youngest son REALLY ate for dinner:

Now, which set of photos makes you feel like you got the TOTAL picture?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Ugly Side of Being Back in School

While I love being a student again, there is an ugly side to being back in school. For one thing, it means getting up super early in the morning so that I can not only get Ethan fed, dressed and dropped off at his school the moment the doors open, but I also must get myself dressed, fed (if you count being fed as slurping my coffee on the fly and throwing a cereal bar in my backpack) and sitting in class by 8 a.m. On the mornings I have class, Ethan and I are a flurry of Thermoses, backpacks and bedhead, both of us clamoring to the car. Without fail, Ethan always asks me if he's the one who's late to which I always answer, "Nope, but Mommy's going to be if we don't hurry". Today, as we drove to school in the predawn hours (it was 7:15, admittedly not all that early, but still very dark), Ethan asked me why his "school starts at night". The familiar stab of mommy guilt stayed with me for a while until I remembered that even on the days where I don't have to be at class, Ethan still insists on being at school as early as possible so he can do "his morning work" which from what I've gathered is coloring some sort of picture at his table. You gotta admire his enthusiasm.

The second disadvantage to being back in school is that my downtime is severely lacking. While I must admit, that there are many times where I consider doing school work to be a form of relaxation (read: there are no kids scurrying around me vying for my attention), when an exam is approaching, it is hard to be relaxed. Especially for me, someone who functions optimally only when my surroundings are organized, when my to do lists are as completed as they can ever be and when my household is running smoothly. The glitch here is that the rest of my life, both the big things and the little things, get ignored when I'm preparing for an exam. There is no organization, my to do lists grow so long they might as well be written on a roll of toilet paper and as far as the household running smoothly, let's just say I manage not to burn the house down or leave my kids unattended for long stretches of time.

When I say that the rest of my life gets ignored, I really mean it. As far as the little things, laundry is left unwashed, unsorted, unfolded, and un-putaway in whatever place it happens to land at the moment just before I realized how desperately I needed to start buckling down on my school work. Meals do not get prepared, the contents of the pantry and the fridge are depleted and my family is forced to survive on whatever non-rotten food they can find at the time until the fridge is restocked, which will probably be a day or two after my exam (I pad it with an extra day of recovery time). Up until the day of my exam, my house looks like it was burglarized and ransacked. My physical appearance isn't much better, as hygiene is another thing that takes a back seat to studying. (I don't have time for a shower, people! That is 20 minutes that could be spent memorizing polyatomic ions or mastering molecular geometry.) So far, I've only gone two days in a row without showering, but three days without washing my hair, and I think I went an entire 24 hours without brushing my teeth, but I can't be sure. And of course, if you read my blog regularly, you'll notice that while I'm typically not a new-blog-post-every-day kind of gal, my blog gets ignored too. Sigh.

Sadly, it isn't only the little things that get ignored, but the big things as well, namely my friends and family. Adam is always very understanding about the large gaps of time I spend away from him in the days leading up to an exam. The kids are understanding too (not sure Eli even notices I'm gone most of the time) but it certainly bothers me. Especially this past weekend. Sunday morning, Adam was planning a fun activity with the boys and I got up and out early to study away from the house and all the distractions. I headed to Starbucks, got my coffee and settled in for an entire day of studying. But it took me a while to get started because I couldn't concentrate on anything other than the emptiness that I felt. I watched moms with their kids come in for a hot chocolate, I watched husbands and wives sit hand-in-hand while sipping their lattes. And all I could think about were my three boys off having fun without me.

Eventually I regained my perspective and was able to push through three chapters of molecules, ions and balanced equations, fueled in large part by the memories of the fun day the four of us had had the day before (I pulled myself away from my books long enough to spend the day apple picking with Adam and the boys - what a blast and a welcome break!).

Most of the time, I know I'm doing the right thing, but sometimes, I wonder. I wonder if it is worth it to put this burden on myself, I wonder if it is fair for me ask Adam and the boys to sacrifice their time with me, to ignore my own babies so that I can go take care of other people's sick babies in a few years from now. Usually, the answer is yes - not that there is anything that is ever better then spending time with my children - but usually, I know that everything I am doing right now is the means to get to my goal. Other than being a mother, I know that being a nurse will be the (second) most important thing I do with my life.

It's a long term goal, one that I am slowly (but ever so surely) achieving. The rewards this early in the game come in small doses. But today, I received an extra dose - my test grade from Monday's exam, which was 102. The road is long, but it feels good to know I'm on my way.